Got fifty bucks? Well that’ll buy you an AR Lower this week. Quite simply, this is the best AR deal we’ve seen this year, and one of the best values on a firearm receiver we can remember. Right now, while supplies last, Brownells.com is offering Bushmaster-brand AR-15 stripped lower receivers for just $49.99. You read that right — you can get a major manufacturer AR lower for under fifty bucks. That’s a savings of $120.00 off the normal price. Get them while you can.
NOTE: Stripped lowers are considered the firearm, so this must be delivered to an FFL-holder. It is fairly easy to complete the lower with readily available parts and the trigger group of your choice.
Bushmaster Stripped Lower Receiver Product Description
Receiver is a rigid 7075 T6 aluminum forging with extra metal in the right places for added strength without unnecessary bulk. Features a beefy, M16A2-pattern reinforced area around the front pivot pin, a strengthening ridge over the receiver extension threads, and a ridge around the mag release button to guard against accidental magazine drop by preventing unintentional button activation. Bead blasted after machining to ensure a uniform, non-reflective surface before application of lusterless black military hardcoat A8625, Type III, Class 2 anodized finish that adds surface strength and resists abrasion. A final, nickel acetate seal coat provides extra protection against corrosion. Stripped lower is the perfect companion for Bushmaster Lower Receiver Parts Kit, available separately
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In recent years, the ranks of first-time handgun buyers have grown dramatically. Thousands upon thousands of Americans are purchasing their first-ever pistol. With so many handgun options available these days (from derringers to Desert Eagles) many first-time buyers have trouble making a choice.
A close relative recently contacted this Editor. Wanting to get started in handgunning, he sought my advice on purchasing his first handgun. “Should I get a Glock?”, he asked. “No” was my response. “Well how about an M&P?” he inquired. “Better ergos” I said, “but ‘No’ is still my reply.” “OK, how about a KelTec, they’re cheap…” “Absolutely not”, I replied.
I could tell he was getting annoyed, when he said “OK, Mr. know-it-all, so what handgun should I get?” Calmly, I replied: “Get a .22-caliber rimfire revolver. You will never out-grow it. You will learn sight alignment and trigger control. You can practice with inexpensive ammunition. A good .22 revolver will be considerably more accurate than 90% of the self-loading pistols you could buy. If you get a Smith & Wesson, you will keep the gun for the rest of your life and pass it on to your kids. If you or your heirs ever wear out the barrel or cylinder, Smith & Wesson will replace the parts for free, forever.”
First Handgun Choice — A very good choice for a first handgun is a Smith & Wesson .22 LR revolver, such as the S&W model 617. The model 617 is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger (in single-action mode), and good sights.
You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable handgun, shooting inexpensive .22 LR ammo. The model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense. Below is a slide-show illustrating a S&W model 617 ten-shot, with 6″ barrel. S&W also makes a 4″-barrel version of this revolver. (See: Shooting Demo Video with 4″ model 617.)
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Here’s a handy product for pistol shooters and 3-Gun competitors. The NRA Handgunner Backpack provides a convenient transport solution for your pistols, magazines, and assorted range gear. This product offers all the carrying capacity of a large range bag, in a design that, when worn on your back, leaves your hands free to haul long-gun cases, target frames, spotting scopes, or other bulky hardware. Measuring 17″ wide, 22″ high and 9″ deep, the pack has plenty of room for your gear.
Quad-Pistol Gear Hauler
The cleverly-designed Handgunner Backpack carries up to four pistols. Undo the zipper, slide out the compartment, place your pistols in one of the four foam gun cradles. Store your magazines in a zip-up side pocket with six (6) individual mag sleeves. There are also specially designed compartments for ammo boxes, muffs, protective eyewear, target stapler, and more. You’ll find handy embroidered patches showing the right spot for each gear item.
Lars Dalseide, editor of the NRAblog, tells us this pack is comfortable and sturdy. The shoulder straps and the rear back panel feature moisture-wicking padding and the pack comes with a waterproof cover. And the pack won’t collapse when you set it on a bench — it stands up on its own.
We’re impressed with the design and features of this pack. A lot of smart thinking went into its design. As you might expect though, because the Handgunner Backpack has so many features, it’s not cheap. This specialized backpack sells for $119.95 at the the NRA Online Store. We don’t think that’s too much, considering what this pack can do. This could be a sweet Xmas gift for the pistolero or 3-Gun shooter in the family. If you are running a shooting match, the Handgunner Backpack would make a great prize — way more useful than a walnut plaque.
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Kirsten Joy Weiss is a phenomenal off-hand rifle shooter. In this video, Kirsten performs a classic Annie Oakley trick shot, cutting a playing card in half with a bullet. Splitting a playing card would be hard enough with a scoped rifle shot from the bench. But Kirsten makes this amazing shot from standing position, shooting over iron sights, with an inexpensive rimfire lever gun. Trust us, that’s not easy. It did take Kirsten three tries, but we’re still impressed.
To accomplish this trick shot, Kirsten’s horizontal aim had to be ultra-precise. A playing card is only 0.25mm thick (about 1/100th of an inch). That leaves almost no room for error.
GIF Animation Shows Bullet Slicing Card in Half:
We know top benchresters can put five shots in one ragged hole at 100 yards, used a scoped rifle sitting on a stable rest. But make those folks stand on their hind legs, hold the rifle, and aim over primitive iron sights, and some of those benchrest aces would be lucky to hit a dinner plate at 100 yards. Kudos to Kirsten for making this great shot.
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For many years, the Varmint Hunters Association (VHA) has produced an excellent print periodical, The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Along with hunting stories, the magazine features articles about precision reloading and methods for accurizing rifles. The Varmint Hunter Magazine is available by subscription, and you can also purchase back issues through the VHA Online Store.
Right now the VHA is offering two FREE digital editions of The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Can’t beat that price. Click the links below to view (or download) the latest Fall 2014 Edition (Issue #92) or the previous Summer 2014 Edition (Issue #91). These digital eZines can be read on your computer or by most mobile devices. But since these are complete magazines, it make take a minute or two to download the full PDF files (be patient).
Sooner or later you’ll want to clean your rifle brass, even if you aren’t fussy about appearance. You can tumble your cases in a vibratory tumbler with dry media, but that can leave cases with a fine layer of dust, or worse yet, clogged flash holes. As an alternative to tumbling, many shooters are experimenting with ultrasonic case cleaning. Here are three tips to achieve the best results when using ultra-sound to clean your brass:
Try a Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution
As a companion product to its new ultrasonic cleaning tank, Hornady is selling a citric-acid based One Shot™ Sonic Clean™ Solution, that is claimed to speed up cleaning times, and not leave your brass an odd pinkish color like some “home-brew” solutions. We’ve heard good reports about the One-Shot Solution (cartridge case formula) as well as Citranox®. Both products are economical to use since you dilute them heavily with water. For example, Hornady recommends you mix forty (40) parts water to one part of One Shot Sonic Clean.
Forum member Dave B is a chemist/physicist with decades of experience working with the ultrasound process. Dave tried a variety of solutions and he favors a mix of water and Citranox®. Dave notes: “So far I’ve been very impressed with the Citranox. Once- or twice-fired brass clean up very quickly. The worst cases I tried were 6 Dashers that had been fired ten times with Varget and never cleaned. The worst fouling was in the bottom of the case around the flash hole. They took longer and I used a more concentrated cleaning solution but they did come out clean. The price is reasonable. I paid $35 a gallon and for once- or twice-fired cases I dilute the cleaner 100 to 1. There is much less chemical reaction with the brass than there is with vinegar. No weird colors, just shiny bright. I even used it with hot water, which speeds up the cleaning process. The cleaner is mostly detergents with a little citric acid. Even at a 1:75 ratio my $35 worth of cleaner will make 75 gallons of solution.” The price has gone up a bit since Dave acquired his Citranox, but Amazon.com sells Citranox for $45.50 per gallon.
Another good ultrasonic solution is L&R non-ammoniated Safety Cleaning Solution, sold by Brownells, item #515-000-004. Brownell’s L&R solution is non-toxic and biodegradeable. The strong surfactant in L&R solution helps penetrate the grit so the ultrasonic cavitation can carry the grime away.
De-Gas the Solvent Before Adding Brass
One of our readers, Eddy M. in Glasgow, Scotland writes: “I have read a couple of articles recently about ultrasonic cleaning of cases and not one has mentioned de-gassing the cleaning liquid before starting to clean items. As an engineer who traveled around for ten years servicing ultrasonic tanks I would like to point out that the cleaning liquid when first put into the tank has invisible dissolved air bubbles in it which will absorb ultrasonic energy until the liquid de-gasses. (Ten minutes in a powerful industrial tank — longer in a small hobby tank). You must let the tank run on its own for 20 minutes on the first use of the liquid to allow this to happen. Only after the new liquid or re-introduced liquid has been de-gassed will the tank give good results.”
Apply Dry-Lube Inside Case Necks
Jason Baney has found that Ultrasonic cleaning leaves the inside of the case-necks so “squeaky clean” that there is excess friction when seating bullets. On a fired case that has been cleaned conventionally (no ultra-sound), a thin layer of carbon remains to lubricate the bullet entry and exit. To restore that lubricity in cases cleaned with ultrasound, Jason applies a dry lube to the inside of his case necks. Jason prefers the $10.95 moly dry lube kit from Neconos.com. With this kit, small carbon steel balls transfer moly to the neck when you place your brass nose-down in the container.
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Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.
by Eben Brown, EABCO.com, (E. Arthur Brown Co. Inc.)
The current popularity of 6.5mm cartridges in the USA has been a long time in coming. I won’t go into my opinions on why it took so long to catch on. The important thing is that it finally HAS caught on and we’re now so fortunate to have a wide selection of 6.5mm cartridges to choose from!
6.5mm Grendel – Developed by Alexander Arms for the AR15 and military M4 family of rifles. The Grendel fits the dimensional and functional requirements of these rifles while delivering better lethality and downrange performance. There are now similar cartridges from other rifle companies. We chamber for the Les Baer “264 LBC-AR”. Designed for velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 123gr bullets, it shoots the 140-grainers at about 2000 fps (for comparison purposes).
6.5mm BRM – Developed by E. Arthur Brown Company to give “Big Game Performance to Small Framed Rifles” — namely our Model 97D Rifle, TC Contender, and TC Encore. Velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 140gr bullets puts it just under the original 6.5×55 Swede performance.
6.5mm x 47 Lapua – Developed by Lapua specifically for international 300m shooting competitions (with some interest in long-range benchrest as well). Case capacity, body taper, shoulder angle, and small rifle primer are all features requested by top international shooters. You can expect velocities of 2500-2600+ with 140 gr bullets.
6.5mm Creedmoor – Developed by Hornady and Creedmoor Sports, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is designed for efficiency and function. Its shape reaches high velocities while maintaining standard .308 Winchester pressures and its overall length fits well with .308 Win length magazines. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.260 Remington – Developed by Remington to compete with the 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser that was (finally) gaining popularity in 1996. By necking down the 7mm-08 Remington to 6.5mm (.264 cal), the .260 Remington was created. It fit the same short-action [receivers] that fit .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, etc. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700 fps with 140gr bullets in the 260 .Remington.
[Editor's Note: In the .260 Rem, try the Lapua 120gr Scenar-Ls and/or Berger 130gr VLDs for great accuracy and impressive speeds well over 2900 fps.]
6.5mm x 55 Swedish Mauser – This was the cartridge that started the 6.5mm craze in the USA. It is famous for having mild recoil, deadly lethality on even the biggest game animals, and superb accuracy potential. Original ballistics were in the 2500 fps range with 140gr bullets. Nowadays handloaders get 2600-2700+ fps.
[Editor's Note: Tor from Scandinavia offers this bit of 6.5x55mm history: "Contrary to common belief, the 6.5×55 was not developed by Mauser, but was constructed by a joint Norwegian and Swedish military commission in 1891 and introduced as the standard military cartridge in both countries in 1894. Sweden chose to use the cartridge in a Mauser-based rifle, while Norway used the cartridge in the Krag rifles. This led to two different cartridges the 6.5×55 Krag and 6.5×55 Mauser -- the only real difference being safe operating pressure."]
6.5-284 Norma — This comes from necking the .284 Winchester down to .264 caliber. Norma standardized it for commercial ammo sales. The 6.5mm-284 was very popular for F-Class competition and High Power at 1,000 yards. However, many F-Class competitors have switched to the straight .284 Win for improved barrel life. 6.5-284 velocities run 3000-3100+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.264 Winchester Magnum – Developed by Winchester back in 1959, the .264 Win Mag never really caught on and may have delayed the ultimate acceptance of 6.5mm cartridges by US shooters (in my opinion). It missed the whole point and original advantage of 6.5 mm cartridges.
The Original 6.5mm Advantage
The special needs of long-range competition have skewed things a little. However the original advantages of 6.5mm cartridges — how deadly the 6.5mms are on game animals, how little recoil they produce, and how easy they are to shoot well — still hold true today.
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Two Hundred Bucks. A Pair of Benjamins. Now THAT’s a serious rebate. Save now with the HK Days Rebate Program. Here’s how it works. If you purchase a new, qualifying Heckler & Koch firearm, you will receive a Visa Card with $200.00 worth of built-in credit.
Heckler & Koch USA is offering the $200 VISA card with a new HK firearm purchased from November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. The offer covers new HK firearm models: USP, P30, HK45, Mark 23 (shown below), and MR rifles. These are very fine firearms. This Editor has owned two HK USPs in .45 ACP. They were both rugged and extremely accurate — accurate as in being able to put an entire magazine into a quarter-sized hole at 10 yards.
How to Get HK Days $200.00 Visa Card
NOTE: The eligible purchase period starts on November 1, 2014 (so you’ll have to wait at bit.) Retail customers need to complete a reply coupon and send it to Heckler & Koch along with a dated copy of their sales receipt. Coupon forms are available at most HK authorized dealers or can be downloaded at http://tiny.cc/HKDays. For more information, contact Heckler & Koch at 706-568-1906 ext. 6551, or send email to: promo [at] heckler-koch-us.com.
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Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.
These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.
Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $12.00 – $21.00 from Brownells. For long F-Class or tactical rifles, we recommend the 10″x52″ Scoped Shotgun Bag, Brownells item 132-000-003. You can also order direct from the Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises, www.BoreStores.com. Big Spring will also craft custom sizes on request.
Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.
Here’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.
Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust.
Remember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.
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IMR is bringing out a new series of advanced-formulation extruded powders. In 2015, IMR will introduce three (3) new Enduron powders: IMR 4166, IMR 4451, and IMR 7977. The new line of IMR Enduron powders feature small kernels for easy metering, plus a built-in copper fouling eliminator. IMR claims that Enduron powders are not sensitive to temperature changes. If this is true, these powders should prove popular, particularly IMR 4166 which seems to be in the Varget/Reloder 15 burn-rate range. With Varget so hard to find, if IMR 4166 proves accurate (and available) we might see many .308 Win shooters make the switch. IMR states that IMR 4166 is a “versatile, match grade propellant”. We’ve been quite pleased with IMR 8208 XBR as a Varget alternative. IMR 8208 XBR is accurate, clean-burning, and offers good velocity. Perhaps the new IMR 4166 will be as good or better.
When will Enduron powders appear on dealers’ shelves? Hodgdon Powder Co., distributors of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders, says that: “The new IMR Enduron™ Technology powders will be available at dealers in early 2015 in 1-pound and 8-pound containers.” For more information and Enduron LOAD DATA visit imrpowder.com or check the 2015 Hodgdon Annual Manual.
IMR’s press release provides these descriptions of the new Enduron propellants:
IMR 4166 is the first in the series of Enduron™ propellants. It’s a perfect burn speed for cartridges like the 308 Win/7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Remington, 257 Roberts and dozens more.
IMR 4451 Another new Enduron powder that gives top performance in the venerable .30-06, 270 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Short Magnum, to name just a few. This propellant is ideally suited for many mid-range burn speed cartridges.
IMR 7977 is the slowest burn rate Enduron Technology powder. It is a true magnum cartridge propellant with outstanding performance in such cartridges as the .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .338 Lapua and more.
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Washington State Ballot Initiative 594, otherwise known as I-594, is bad news. This poorly-written proposed law puts dramatic restrictions on gun owners. I-594 could criminalize many traditional types of shooting activities (including training with shared firearms). I-594 is so sweeping and vague that law enforcement groups consider the initiative “unenforceable”. If you live in Washington State, you need to educate yourself about I-594. In this story, two of our shooter friends (and contributors to the Daily Bulletin) analyze I-594 and explain its flaws.
Kelly Bachand: Why is I-594 bad? I-594 is posing as a background check initiative, but that’s not what it is. I-594 limits the legal modes of recreational use by redefining a firearms transfer to include almost any time that a firearm changes hands, even if it’s just for demonstration purposes, a short-term loan, or a bona fide gift.
Top Shot’s Chris Cheng Reveals the Dark Side of I-594
If you believe in Second Amendment rights, you should watch this video. If you believe in gun rights and live in Washington state, you should make sure your friends, neighbors, and family members of voting age watch this video. Chris Cheng does a great job exposing the flaws of I-594:
Kelly Bachand Analyzes Washington State Initiatives I-594 and I-591
Since I’m a licensed firearms dealer I’ve had to learn a lot about the law concerning firearms. It makes sense then that close friends have asked me about my position on I-594 and I-591 which are on the ballot in Washington. I’ve read the full text for both a few times. How will I vote? I will vote yes on I-591. I will vote no on I-594.
I opened up my voter’s pamphlet last night and I was incredibly surprised to find that in the Explanatory Statement from the WA Office of Attorney General, there is a statement that is simply untrue. It precedes both initiatives in the voter’s pamphlet and it reads “In Washington, a background check is only required to buy a pistol, and only if the seller is a firearms dealer.” That’s simply untrue. Every time I sell ANY firearm a background check is performed, background checks are not just done for handgun sales. Furthermore, handgun sales in WA require a secondary, redundant background check performed by local law enforcement [which is] reported to the WA DOL. S0, there are actually two background checks performed on a typical handgun sale.
Why is I-594 bad? I-594 is posing as a background check initiative, but that’s not what it is. Background checks are not bad, I-594 is bad because it’s not about background checks. If it was a well-written background check initiative that addressed actual issues with mental health and domestic violence documentation then there could actually be many firearms owners who supported it. Unfortunately, the largest impact on firearms that I-594 will have is to limit the legal modes of recreational use that are available to law abiding citizens. The things it purports to stop are already illegal so it won’t bother criminals at all that there is one more law they are breaking. I-594 limits the legal modes of recreational use by redefining a firearms transfer to include almost any time that a firearm changes hands, even if it’s just for demonstration purposes, a short term loan, or a bona fide gift.
Under I-594 I would no longer be able to borrow my friend’s new pistol to take to the range and test out before I buy one of my own; that would be a criminal act. Nor would I be able to lend my father-in-law a shotgun so that he could go shoot trap with his church group; that would be a criminal act. Why would I make such specific examples of what would be illegal under I-594? Those sorts of simple examples I gave are simple actions that many responsible firearms owners do regularly, and now they would be criminal. It’s already illegal to sell to a felon or anyone you even think may not be able to own a firearm. If I-594 is passed, it won’t bother criminals at all, they will still get firearms from black markets and through theft, but it will really bother those law0abiding citizens who enjoy even the simplest things like target shooting and introducing their friends to the same.
Why is I-591 better? I-591 says that WA State’s background check system will continue to be in line with the ATF’s regulations, the law at a federal/national level. The means background checks are still required for all firearms sales by dealers. It also means that law-abiding gun owners won’t be criminalized for typical recreational activities with firearms. I-591 also restates that confiscating firearms from a citizen by any government agency without due process is illegal. Is this already unlawful? Yes it is. It has been demonstrated, though, that in some states where initiatives like I-594 have passed (California for example) that the increased government oversight on law abiding citizens’ activities has created scenarios where firearms have been confiscated without due process.
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Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:
.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph